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Michigan Senate OKs more time to process absentee ballots

The GOP-controlled House will consider the measure next.

LANSING, Mich. — Larger Michigan municipalities could begin processing an expected surge of absentee ballots sooner in the November presidential election under a bill approved Tuesday by the state Senate.

The 34-2 vote followed a monthslong delay in the Republican-led chamber amid lobbying from clerks in both parties who warned of significant delays in counting the votes. The GOP-controlled House will consider the measure next.

Absentee voting, already on the rise in recent election cycles, is an increasingly popular option during the coronavirus pandemic and following the passage of a 2018 ballot initiative that lets people cast one for any reason.

The legislation would let clerks in bigger communities start processing ballots the day before Election Day. They still could not be counted until Election Day.

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